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Rice: Deal near on Mideast border - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) -U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Monday there was an &#34agreement in sight&#34 for freedom of movement for Palestinians to and from Gaza following Israel”s pullout from the territory in September.

Rice, speaking at a news conference after separate talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, voiced confidence the remaining issues could be resolved.

&#34It is very important for ordinary Palestinians … that there be freedom of movement established between Gaza and the West Bank,&#34 she said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said an agreement was imminent but final details still needed to be worked out.

&#34I think that we are able to put all these ideas together and finalize them soon,&#34 Abbas said.

Differences appeared to center on Israeli monitoring of the Rafah border terminal between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, where both sides have agreed to European Union observers.

Citing security concerns, Israel has pushed for a video link through which it could view Palestinians crossing the frontier. Palestinians oppose this.

Prior to the news conference, Palestinian officials said an agreement on Rafah would be announced during Rice”s visit, which ends later in the day.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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